Mother of the Mountains: the Virgin Mary as a Bridge from the Inka Past to Post-Colonial Christian-Andean Religiosity Open Access

Prochazka, Julia Marie (2013)

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Colonialism yields a complex relationship of the victors and the vanquished. In the Andes, the Spanish conquered the Inka Empire and brought Catholicism into a community with a strong pantheistic tradition. I argue that the Virgin Mary serves as a visual bridge between these two divergent religious traditions. Through the art of the Virgin both the Spanish and pre-Colombian traditions are apparent, yet neither dominates. Mary melds into an interlocked relationship of what is held sacred for each culture. The Conquest brought together the Western artistic conventions with the Andean perspective and resulted into something unique, unlike any depictions of the Virgin seen before. The Virgin Mary becomes a double-sided mirror, depending on the background of the viewer she epitomizes divinity for each group. For the Spanish-Christians, Mary as the Mother of Christ exudes the characteristics of piety, purity, and requites European conventions of depiction. For the indigenous viewers, Mary becomes part of a complex dialogue of the sacred unity of time and space, representing their ancestral past, while also bringing into question how perpetuation of pre-Colombian traditions becomes subversive to the Spanish reign.

Table of Contents

Table of Contents

Title Page 1

Table of Contents 2

Introduction 4

Chapter 1: Guamán Poma, the Virgin and Huacas 20

Chapter 2: La Escuela Cuzqueña and the Virgin within Nature: 42

Francisco Chivantito's Virgin of Montserrat

Chapter 3: La Virgin del Cerro: 58

The Multifaceted Dialogue Between Marian and Inka Values

Conclusion 73

Glossary 82

Bibliography 84

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